My buddy was reading me a blog post he read on the subject of teaching multiple services this week and suggested I share a few thoughts on the subject as well. I speak at 4 high school ministry services here at Saddleback on a regular basis – 2 on Saturday night and 2 on Sunday morning. And while I’m not sure this will be that helpful to most youth ministries since few have multiple identical services, I think there’s enough here to potentially be helpful if you teach every weekend, multiple times a weekend or just every once in a while:
Write out a full manuscript
The best way to make sure your delivery is on point every time is to script your message out completely. You’ll never forget where you are in your bullet points or whether or not you’ve told that story this service (oh man that’s painful) because you have a script. Manuscript also honors the art of preparation, and allows you to know exactly where you’re taking the students in the talk. Of course, the script is meant to be a guide, not a performance.
Capture the ad libs
Give a trusted volunteer a copy of your manuscript message and ask them to jot down any thoughts you added during the message. You’re skills are going to advance very quickly since you get to repeat the message a second time, and your new jokes, funny mannerisms, etc need to be added for the next delivery. There are times when someone ad libbed just cant be duplicated – and that’s OK, too. You just have to let those go.
Debrief the first delivery
This is a very humbling experience the first time, I won’t pretend that it doesn’t hurt. But if you want to improve the next delivery, you have to talk about this one. Circle up your trusted friends and let them tell you the good, bad and ugly about the message. Accept criticism, don’t be defensive and take what you believe God has for you in that time. Humility always wins.
Eat, drink and be merry
There’s a certain bilogical preparation that needs to happen to deliver the same content multiple times – the most important one is to make sure you eat protein. And be hydrated. This all sounds kinda silly typing it all out, but I’ve spoken a 3rd service on just pop tarts and a caramel macchiato and it wasn’t pretty. Treat your body right for a demanding speaking sequence.
Tell stories with the same energy of the first time
This one is tough – you’ve got to keep your energy up for the stories – the audience hasn’t seen that powerful illustration or heard that great fail of yours, even if this is your fourth time telling it. Deliver stories with the same intensity as the first time. If you’ve done good preparation by manscripting, you should know just how to tell the story each and every time.
Trust God’s Spirit to guide you
Every service isn’t simply a carbon copy of the previous one – God will urge you and move you differently during each talk so don’t be a robot when you get up there. Be filled with the Spirit! Lean into what He has for you to say to the students that are gathered there.
What other speaking tips would you add to the list?